Tuesday, August 7, 2007

A Sobering Discussion of Right-to-Life

"The perfect is the enemy of the good."

In my continuing dialogue with Larry Perrault, I make clear to him that I'm willing to support the Republican ticket in 2008 -- period. He's willing to support the ticket IF it's headed by Mike Huckabee, but he may sit out the election if any other (likely) candidate is at the top. He pins many of his hopes on the Democrats NOT doing what they say they will if, as appears likely, they win the election.

The over-riding issue for Larry is the question of abortion. He's strongly pro-life and is especially concerned about Rudy Giuliani's position on the subject. Here's my response to him:

Frankly, after having been associated with National Right to Life for about 25 years (more?), I sometimes wonder if the Movement has lost sight of any achievable goal. The Supreme Court is NOT going to do away with Roe v. Wade anytime soon. Even if it did, the issue would revert to the states, where about half of them (roughly) would be restrictive on abortion -- and half would not. In that case, things would not change much, because people would cross borders to get abortions.

Thus, Roe v. Wade is "bad law," but the notion that overturning it is going to produce major changes in the U.S. doesn't reflect reality. Even if the Supreme Court were to do away with Roe -- something that may or may not happen in a distant "someday" -- abortion apparently would not diminish sharply in the U.S.

Currently, support does NOT exist -- in Congress or the states -- for a constitutional amendment outlawing abortion.The real question is: should we just bemoan this fact, or should we do the best we can?

In a practical sense, Giuliani's position -- reducing abortions and increasing adoptions, as happened when he was Mayor of NYC -- might be the best PRACTICAL approach. If we continue to take an all-or-nothing stance on the issue, we may very well end up with nothing (which is basically what we've gotten over 30-plus years).

Pre-Roe v. Wade, there were 200,000 (more?) abortions per year in the U.S. Post-Roe v. Wade (if there is a post period, and there will be none if Hillary Clinton is elected), would there be less? It's doubtful.

So, might not the best answer -- as opposed to the unachievable "perfect answer" -- be to make the case for more adoptions and fewer abortions as the way to affirm life in all its forms? True, that may not be as emotionally satisfying to some pro-lifers, but the practical effect might be more significant than the current mainly rhetorical effort.

We need more practical steps -- increasing pre-natal counselling, providing better pre-natal health care, coming up with improved avenues for adoption -- TO REDUCE ABORTION. Since we are never going to eliminate it, we should seek to reduce it. To that end, it's critical that we move beyond trying to outshout the opposition.

I have zero interest in generating more rhetoric about abortion. I also have zero interest in PRETENDING that we are going to eradicate it. However, I have a profound interest in the nation taking workable steps to reduce abortion to the greatest degree possible.

Stephen R. Maloney
Ambridge, PA

Additional Response to Larry

Additional Response to Larry's column "Stranger in a Foreign Land," http://larryperrault.blogspot.com/

Defending what you BELIEVE to be right is in fact your obligation. My point is that I don't see how you defend them by not opposing people who believe the opposite. I wonder if the explanation to God you mention wouldn't instead revolve why you didn't "choose ye this day" between the partly objectionable and the completely objectionable?

Your point is that the Democrats don't "really" mean what they say. My point is that they probably do. Yes, being President is a lot different from running for President, whether you're Hillary Clinton or Mike Huckabee. However, as you point out with Gore and Gephardt on abortion, there are certain stances a Democrat MUST take -- such as being pro-choice -- if he or she is to run for President.

With Republican candidates (and voters), obviously, there's not a litmus test. Bill Clinton dealt with abortion by not mentioning it, an approach Mrs. Clinton may also take. When necessary, she will admit her strong admiration for Justice Ginsburg (hint, hint).

What you said about Richardson is also instructive. As he's veered to the Left, he's gone up in the polls. Republicans are big on "purity of heart," as Romney recently noted. Democrats have that problem to a much lesser extent (when they have it at all).

As I said previously, Bill Clinton did great damage to the FBI and the CIA, not to mention the U.S. military. He did so because, well, "it's the economy, stupid." It turned out (First WTC bombing, African embassies, the Cole, and the run-up to 9/11) that it was not the economy, stupid (Bill). The American people persist in liking him a lot, perhaps for some of the same reasons they like the Simpson family.

I generally stay away from commenting on Ron Paul and Hugh Hewitt, lest I resort to bad words. Hugh's favorite candidate, Mitt Romney, who has spent $20-plus million has 8% in the new Gallup Poll. Take out MA, UT, and NH, and he's well below Huckabee nationally. Mitt has some big decisions to make in the next 45 days.

Right now, the race is probably between Rudy, Fred, and Mike, with John still having a chance but a slim one.

steve maloney


Sanity102 said...

Ah Steve, you know how I feel about abortion. I'm off to work and will deal with it when I get home but for now let me leave you with this...to pro-lifers, the concept of abortion is more than being "for" or "against" it...it is a direct indication of a leader's character.

Abortion is the wanton killing of a human life. I am sorry but spin it anyway you want and any five year old will tell you when a woman is pregnant she's carrying a BABY and for the intellectually inclined...the humanity of the fetus is a medical and scientific FACT.

Not in my lifetime did I ever expect to even consider voting for a pro-abortion candidate...much less one that actually donated to the abortion mill...yet here I am, considering just that.

Why? Because in 2001...on a September morning...people who didn't even know ME and my world tried to destroy it.

Life is full of priorities...full of choices and the ugly fact of ADULT life is that sometimes we have to choose between...

someone who will fight to save my world so that I can go on fighting for the unborn (or illegal immigration or whatever is important to you.)

or someone who actively work toward destroying the only party that wants to fight the WOT and will put on the courts activist judges that will tank any chance of bringing sanity back to the courts.

Stephen R. Maloney said...

Sanity, you know the extremely high regard I have for you . . . and who you "are." I'm asking a very practical question: what are we to do, rather than how are we to feel or believe. It's a little likely the girl I wrote about who "killed" her father (who had viciously assaulted her). They are now vigorously trying to determine how to "try" her, process her through the "justice system." Somehow, she seems to be getting everything but justice. My point is that if we're still alive 30 years from now, we don't want to be asking, "How does this candidate stand on Roe v. Wade? When there are fundamental differences on an issue -- and I'm with you rather than against you on this one -- the question in a society like ours has to be: how do we reconcile the situation? Specifically, what is the best solution we can achieve? The practical point is that we are not going to eliminate abortion. Given that fact, what steps can we take to reduce it?

Larry Perrault said...


First,if you research Giuliani and the adoption increase matter, there is rather a lot of discussion on how he is construing the matter. The increase was actually consistent with a national trend and appears early in his term, before his policies would have been responsible. The rate fell for the last five years of it.

But, there are some things that you need to further understand about my position: I don't see the reverse of Roe v. Wade around the corner, particularly when REPUBLICANS are contemplating abandoning pro-life principle which as I said, for me is about clarity of mind and solidity of character, as Sanity mentioned. And your response, wondering about whether we would stil be at odds about Roe v. Wade, 30 years from now was to the point: I would say probably not. If today, Republicans are going to toss this foundational civil principle to the four winds, in 30 years it may well be an afterthought, and we'll be hot after Europe in the dissolution basic charater and civility. Remember a few summers ago when so many old people died from the heat in France while their adult children amused themse;ves on vacation and such? And whose fault was it? THE GOVERNMENT should have taken care of them, they said!

Thie selfish dereliction is not a matter apart, but entirely of a piece with the selfish abortion mindset. I'm looking out for ME! That's the direction we are moving when we dissolve the moral foundations and looj only at our fears or selfish interest.

Secondly, you also mentioned that a constitutional amendment was not going to happen. Think about this: I don't favor amending the US Constitution. That's righ, ME...Mr. "abortion is a primary issues. Not only is it not GOING to happen. It SHOULDN"T happen, except to reaffirm the already constitutionally respected right to life, in the same way that abolition reaffirmed the existing right to liberty.

But, the federal government can't enforce it and shouldn't try, except to charge it to the states as a principle of being American. Ordinary murders and all crimes are prosecuted by the states, and the law should reflect the values of the near community. The most important force is in the standards of the community, not in the black & white force of the law. Thinking otherwise is why the strength of the sanctity of life principle is dissipating.

I am (still,I think) on the board of a very assertive and connected pro-life organization. The board has a lawyer who gives legal reports and recently joined in an amicus brief on an abortion case before the US Supreme Courtthat he sincerely hoped would overturn RvW. They are al about politics and winning majorities to "change the law."

I've missed the last 3 or 4 meetings, because of physical issues. But, my interest is also waning because they are so unrealistic about the potential of politics and the lack of emphasis of social character.

A friend and I work with two local pro-life organizations. This one is big money and big connections. The other is more street level, counseling and praying outside of Planned Parenthood and such. I have asked my friend if he should focus with the prior, while I focus with the latter.

The latter, for instance spent big money at their $100/plate banquet this year, to bring in Ann Coulter, which I wasn't very excited about, either. For their banquet, the latter group brought in Alan Keyes, who is a more compelling speaker and once scheduled, does not accept a fee for pro-life events that are scheduled in time to get him.

I read Coulter's last book, and her books are well-researched and substantited, and she's very bright, obviously clever and usually correct in her positions. But though she speaks often about Christianity, her manner does not apear to be modeled on Christ. Every time she defends her tactics by citing her book sales, I could retch!

I favor the repeal of RvW for exactly the return of the issue to the states.

If a killer asked if he should kill 5, rather than 10, would you say, "Yeah, I'll take that deal," and maybe tell him which 5? Not me, I'll say who you kill is between you and God, but all killing is wrong. Not understanding that, is the problem.

What we need is for the millions of Christians to start taking in pregnant mothers and making or finding homes for unwanted babies. In a Sunday School class, I told the story of a man who influenced a woman outside an abortion clinic, whose family took the woman into their home, while she took the baby to term. I said, "If Christians won't do things like that, they can just shut up." Someone asked, "Why should I have 10 pregnant women in my home because of what THEY did wrong" I asked, "How about one?" The social squalor is not the fault of people who don't know better. It's the fault of people who say they do.

Joshua said...

Perhaps I don't understand this, but doesn't the party nominee pick the VP?

Stephen R. Maloney said...

Larry, your response is absolutely fascinating. I agree that the issues are ones of what you call social character. As Sanity (a truly wonderful person) knows, I tend to stay away from abortion and immigration, because it's so hard to have a "sanity-laden" discussion of either. Abortion should be a state matter. It should also be a community matter. The woman and man who live next door, a Black couple, have a three-year-old boy (Ali) and a one-year-old girl (Monique) -- the couple is in their 60s -- that they care for (very, very well). One reason those children came into the earth and have a future is that the couple is there to take care of them. My 13-year-old "murderer" is a failure of parents (plural), the community, and the legal system. By the way, the situation in Europe is more restrictive in most countries than it is here, something that amazed me. I'll try to find the article. Most countries there are "liberal" on first-trimester and tough on later abortions.

Sanity102 said...

I think you're a wonderful person too but Steve you're going about this the wrong way.

The question you seem to be asking people is why CAN'T they vote for a Rudy/Sarah ticket.

You're going to get a dozen or more answers--and there is no way you're going to make a Rudy/Sarah ticket acceptable UNLESS the War on Terror is the person's primary issue.

You can't down size the importance of abortion to a pro-lifer...or border security to "no amnesty" absolutist...or gun rights to a 2nd ammendment dogmatist.

No matter how many times you point out that half a loaf is better than none...or that you'll never get more than crumbs...you will not convince them to abandon their "cause" because true believers ultimately believe in miracles.


But you can give them something else to focus on...where they won't feel they are "giving up their beliefs and their principles".

We are a nation at war Steve. Tell them...don't wait until the bombs have fallen for us to focus on winning that war.

Everything else can wait...everything else we can make right again.

Stephen R. Maloney said...

Joshua, the Party nominee picks the V-P nominee based on whatever influences (including members of the Party) there are on him. As I've pointed out at length, the "Party nominee" generally makes a bad choice. Our effort is to ensure he makes a better choice this time. If he makes a bad choice, it becomes a moot point, because the ticket loses.

steve maloney
Palin for V-P Coordinator

Stephen R. Maloney said...

Sanity, I'm very prepared to vote for the Republican nominee (as long as it isn't Ron Paul). If Roe v. Wade was overturned tomorrow, it would not have much of an effect on abortions in the U.S. The issue would revert to the states, and some of them -- perhaps 20 to 25 -- would have liberal laws on the issue. One of those states would be Mormon Utah, which has a fairly "liberal" stand on abortion (incest, rape (defined liberally), life of the mother, and "permission" of a church authority). I believe all of the New England states (MA, ME, VT, CT, NH) would take liberal stances on abortion, including "Catholic" Rhode Island, a very liberal state. California, New York, and Illinois would have liberal abortion laws, as would WA and OR.

The real need is the long-term one of expanding the definition of life in the U.S., a point recognized by some of the candidates. The Supreme Court, as Larry suggests, is not the ultimate answer.

Larry Perrault said...

I have to admit that I haven't closely scrutinized the abortion issue in Europe. I only know that Europe is spiritually and intellectualy shallow and barren. But, if they are more restrictive about it than America is, that would tell me that mass-culture hasn't totally sucked the common-sense out of them, which it plainly has done, here.

As for Giuliani, why should we think that he is the only candidate, let alone the only man in America, who can prosecute the war on terror? Even rhetorucally, only Ron Paul suggests otherwise, though Tancredo may have indicated he could buy us a bigger conflict than we bargain for.

As for abortion post-RvW, the states that Steve mentions would retain liberal abortion practices, and those people would bear the attendant social decline. Others could revive some sense of basic social civility.